“Knowing Your Tenants Rights” written by Mike Marko
Are you aware of the tenants rights of those renting your property?
To be an effective property manager, you should be aware of their different rights. Knowing their rights will guide you on how you should properly treat them during their lease term. It will also help you to be a responsible property manager in taking care of your rental property business.
If you know the tenants rights, you will also be able to avoid conflicts. That’s why I want to take the time to talk to you about tenant rights and what you should do as a responsible property manager.
General Tenants Rights
As a property manager, there are many tenants rights that you should be aware of. To get to know and understand those rights we’ll discuss them in detail in the following sections.
As a property manager, you should be aware of laws preventing discrimination, and be able to follow them when running a successful rental property management business.
One of your rights as a property manager is to choose the tenant who will rent out your property. This right is given to you so that you could select tenants who you think will be responsible for paying rents, and in taking good care of your rental unit.
While it is your right as a property manager or landlord to choose a tenant who will rent out your property, you also need to follow federal anti-discrimination laws. Federal anti-discrimination laws do not allow you to refuse a tenant in their rental application because of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, familial status, physical disability, and mental disability.
In addition to this, there are also additional anti-discrimination laws that you should know, such as:
- Property managers should not include any statements on their advertising materials telling what they prefer as a qualified tenant or any statements that would imply discrimination.
- The property manager may not make any discriminatory implications or statements.
- A property manager cannot tell a potential tenant that an apartment is not available, if it is available.
- A property manager cannot use a different set of rules or discriminate against any individuals or protected class when assessing applicants.
- A property manager cannot use any discriminatory processes to refuse to rent to persons in a protected class.
- A property manager cannot discriminate or provide different services or facilities to tenants in a protected class. Discrimination could be considered if you require a larger deposit or treat late rental payments differently due to race, color, or the person belonging to a protected class.
- A property manager cannot end a tenancy for a discriminatory reason.
- A property manager cannot harass a tenant or discriminate against a tenant in any way.
Tenant’s Right To Have Service Animals
Prior to the rental of the unit the tenant should disclose if they have a service animal that will be sharing the unit with them. If the tenant has an accident or adds a service animal while living in the rental, as long as they disclose, this according to the anti-discriminatory laws even if your lease agreement contains a “no pet” clause there will be an exception to that rule. Allowing a service animal such as a seeing-eye dog, or a dog that helps a tenant cope with a physical or mental disability is a protected right under the disabilities laws. If you refuse a tenant’s rental application solely for this reason, you will be violating the federal law as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It’s your responsibility as a property manager to also be attentive to your tenant’s needs. If one of your tenants needs a trained service animal, then you should respect that need and allow that tenant to live with the trained service animal in your rental unit.
Tenant’s Right To Have Disclosure
It is your right as a property manager to select tenants based on a tenant screening process that you follow when renting your properties. Based on the information you have gathered about prospective tenants you are allowed to reject a tenant’s rental application if you found out negative information that made you decide that the tenant did not pass your standards.
When rejecting a tenant’s rental application it is their right to know the reason behind your rejection of their application. If you reject the tenant due to financial concerns then according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, a property manager or a landlord should inform the tenant if the reason behind the rejection of their rental application is due to the negative credit information that you found out from the tenant’s credit report.
Furthermore, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act also requires you as a property manager to tell the tenant that they may submit a request for disclosure of the negative information. They have sixty days after you tell them to request the information about the negative credit information in their credit report.
Once a property manager like you receive their request for disclosure of negative information, you must inform them about the nature of the information within a reasonable time.
Tenant’s Right To Have A Habitable Home
As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to fulfill your tenant’s right to have a habitable home. Whenever you run inspections, make sure that the property is not getting uninhabitable by watching out for these conditions:
- Unsafe conditions, such as holes in the floor, plaster coming down from the ceiling, bad wiring, etc.
- Infestation of vermin such as cockroaches or mice in the property
- Unsafe conditions or tripping hazards inside and outside the home.
Tenant’s Right To Have Privacy
As a property manager, you have the right to enter the rental units if you need to run inspections on the property. You also have to make sure that the rental units are habitable and will not pose any risk to your tenants.
You should keep in mind that your tenants deserve to have privacy. Before you enter the property, make sure that you’ve given them reasonable notice. Let them know that you’ll be running an inspection in the rental units or if you’re going to show the unit to another prospective tenant. You should also attempt to give more notice that is agreed upon in the lease agreement.
Final Thoughts On Knowing Your Tenants Rights
Knowing the tenants rights of your renters will help you become a responsible property manager. It’ll help guide you on how you should treat your tenants. Knowing your tenants rights will also affect how you manage your rental property business, and thus improve profitability.
Take the time to understand tenant rights. It will help your property business long term.
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